Restaurant review: Masu – Asian bistro

3 09 2017


Masu Asian bistro was opened in Helsinki at the end of August by former 2 Michelin star chef Hans Välimäki and Restamax Group. Masu has been operating in Tampere several years and now it arrived to capital city.

Restaurant Masu is part of Asian cuisine complex. It is located at the second floor; at the first floor there is Säm – Asian bar & kitchen. Masu tries to be more sophisticated but also relaxed. Säm serves street food, you actually walk trough it when entering to Masu. However, many of the dishes are same in both spots.

In the past at the same location was Italian restaurant Vespa, but it seems that concept was not any more successul.

You can choose 4 or 7 course dinner but ordered first starters Pork Buns Miso grated roasted pork loin with pineapple salsa and warm Nanohana rabe and Nakame seaweed salad Broccoli, tomatoes, marinated seaweed with garlic-sesam dressing.

Buns were delicious, pork crispy and tasty. Salsa matched well to this dish. And must say that 2 pieces is a lot for starter but this can be ordered also as main course.

The warm salad was tasty, and because of the soy and seaweed, a bit too salty.  The portion is big for a starter.

For main courses had Ca Kho To Fried crispy pike perch, broccoli, tamarind, soy-chili caramel and black radish and Hot Paa Naam Tok Mushrooms woked in sesam oil, nudels, soy, leon grass, chili, mint, roasted onion and peanuts.

Pike pirch was extremely well prepared, crispy but not dry. Combination of spices and ingredients paired perfectly. But as there was already noodles in the bowl, there was no need to add Gohan as side dish. Would not have ordered rice if waitress would not have asked.

The portion is big; plenty of vegetables and noodles. The dish mentions the mushrooms as the main ingredient, but there were not many to be found. The taste of the starter was too similar to this main dish.

Ordered also Kimchi as side dish but as portions were that big just tasted it.

Dessert was Banana King Kong. Had to order that because of the name! Deep fried banana, salt toffee and vanilla ice-cream was delicious. Can recommend it!

Wine list, when it comes to red’s, is quite short and prices are quite expensive for casual bistro. Had so familiar The Velvet Devil, which is one of the favourite Merlot wines.

 

Portions are well prepared and stylish looking. Main courses are large, which means that you do not necessarily need additional side dishes. Several vegan options was also positive.

As there are only sticks on the table when you arrive, would have appriciated spoons with main courses and fork with dessert, got then only small spoon. As ordered main courses were partly like soups, it would have been nice to have few sips of the broth. Also needed finger with dessert to help with. One could also ask for those but practiced service should notice those beforehand.

Location is price, remember to ask window table and you see the Park Esplanade, Swedish Teater and restaurant Teatteri opposite to Masu.

With some fine-tuning Masu will be one of the top Asian cuisine restaurants in Helsinki.

 

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

http://www.ravintola.fi/ravintola/masu-asian-bistro-helsinki/

 





Restaurant review: Kappeli

9 07 2017

Restaurant Kappeli was opened to the public 1867 as summer restaurant but since 1970′s it has been open all year round. Latest renowation was in autumn 2011 still keeping same traditions in building structure.

In the summer you can also dine at the outside terrace, which is at the end of the building behind main terrace. If you want to sit in the middle of the main terrace but inside, ask for oriel window table for two. It is small but charming and one can even watch bands and singers at the stage opposite to the restaurant. We dined in that small glass walled space on Mid-Summer Eve.

Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Menu today looks tempting and first time it included vegan dish. But as it was Mid-Summer, it was nice to start the dinner with Vodka Martini. Unfortunately, as drink order was taken at the same time as food orders, starter came earlier than aperitif.

For starters ordered Kappeli’s Green salad and Prawn salad and smoky chilli dressing Citrus and tarragon marinated prawns, fried potatoes, samphire, cherry tomatoes seasoned with sorrel and egg.

Prawns were fresh and tasty. Potatoes were extremely delicious, they were cooked somehow differently than ever seen before. I do no recommend to try to spoon the tomatoes with fork, they might surprise you…

As green salad was so basic, no picture or story.

As main courses had Chargrilled whitefish, fried scallops and a fish roe and crème fraîche sauce Almond potato purée seasoned with dill, grilled spring cucumber and carrots and Broad bean and tomato ragù Deep-fried kale, fried mushrooms, macerated mini plum tomatoes and vegan cheese.

Long names for portions and all ingredients well listed.

Whitefish is favorite Finnish fish, light and not greasy at all like salmon. Side dishes were delicious and paired well with the main dish.

Ragu was made of Finnish invention called “Härkis“. It is made from broad beans and also available in the supermarkets. Vegan dishes are not basically meant to look or taste like meat, but this one was made so well that could have thought it was minced meat like ragu usually consists of. With spaghetti would be perfect, made like that.

 

For wine had organic Savia Viva from Pares Balta. Paired well with all dishes enjoyed. Take a look at the label! You can see some historic pictures from Finland, including Kappeli.

Kappeli is a perfect place to try Finnish kitchen in the center of events. Most of the diners are tourists especially now when it was Mid-Summer Eve.

Food was the best one so far compared to previous visits. Especially ragu surprised.

Service was polite and professional, but as mentioned earlier, aperitif was brought too late.

 

REVIEW: FOOD 4+/5 – SERVICE 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

http://www.kappeli.fi/index.php?id=etusivu

 

 





Restaurant review: Taverna Vaelsa

18 06 2017


Ristorante e Taverna Vaelsa opened spring 2015 at the Market Square, at Pohjoisesplanadi 9 in the historic Govinius building. At the 2nd floor there is restaurant serving with wider menu and downstairs is taverna, which serves pizzas and some salads. Vaelsan’s kitchen combines local food and classic Italian cuisine with a modern touch.

Visited taverna at late lunch time on Saturday and tried pizzas. Ordered them from the menu under Pizze Speciali headline.

Chose Bresaola Mozzarella, Rucola, Bresaola, Parmigiano, Lemon Vinaigrette and Vegana Zucchini, Paprika, Eggplant, Parsley, Vegan Cheese.

Pizza Bresaola was delicious, but quite dry as there was not tomato sauce. Pizza base was quite thick and had to cut quite hard pieces. There was enough fresh rucola, which is not always the case when pizza includes rocket salad.


Pizza Vegana was also tasty and it was pleaseant surprise to see that taverna served also vegan version including cheese. That definately increases points.


Wines were a little bit problematic, only 3 red wines available and 2 out of them had run out and replaced with other brands. Of course pizzas do not necessarily require full-bodied wines but for instance the one we enoyed was quite light.

Location is excellent, just opposite to Market Square. And if you get window table like us, it is nice to watch the crowds outside.

Service was a little bit limping, maybe due to busy lunch hour, which was ending. If you want to visit ristorante, better make table reservation, to taverna you can just walk in and check if there are free tables.

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 3,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

http://vaelsa.fi/taverna/





Restaurant review: Bistro Telakka in Lauttasaari

20 05 2017

Summer restaurant Bistro Telakka opened it’s doors just before MayDay. First warm weekend in Helsinki and had to have late lunch there. Telakka operates in the premises of Yacht Club Sinbad like Blue Peter in HSK. By the way, Telakka means shipyard in English.

Restaurant renews its menu every summer and this year it seemed to be very promising. More ambitious and more vegan versions.

For starters ordered Vietnamese summer rolls, ginger-sweet chili dressing. Extremely healthy version of so called spring rolls but as it is summer (almost), rolls were cold, not stir-fried as spring rolls usually are. Carrot dominated as filling and coriander as a taste. Promising start as said before about the menu.

Main courses enjoyed this time were Salmon and tiger prawn smoked at Telakka, asparagus, summer potatoes and lime hollandaise and Roasted Cauliflower Ras el Hanout, warm soy bean-millet salad, lemon yoghurt.

Fish dish looked luxorius as prawn was placed on top of salmon. Salmon was perfectly smoked, not too dry and very soft. Summer potatoes will hopefully be new ones when they are available because of the name. Fried potatoes are not that summery.

Ras el hanout or Rass el hanout is a spice mix from North Africa. It plays a similar role in North African cuisine as garam masala does in Indian cuisine.  Light and tasty dish perfect for a summer day, but it was more like a salad or a started dish when talking of the serving size.

Avarage price of wine bottle on short list is about 35€, which is really affordable concerning wine prices in Helsinki restaurants in general.

Telakka bistro - reijosfood.com

 

Telakka bistro is excellent supplementary dining place in Lauttasaari. Food is excellent when it comes to outlook and taste. With existing prices bistro is quite expensive compared to size of portions and the interior of restaurant.

Terrace outside tempts to dine outside but as May has been one of the coldest in Finland so far, one should have dine inside. We were lucky to have sunny afternoon and could eat at the terrace.

It is a little bit difficult to review service as you have to order from the bar inside. Portions are brought to the tables, no need to pick them by yourself.

REVIEW: FOOD 4+/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE – 4-/5

http://www.bistrotelakka.fi/

 

 





Restaurant review: Salutorget

1 04 2017

 

Set in a former bank building, Salutorget comprises a dining room known for its pared-down elegance, a stylish bar and a cosy outdoor terrace with views of Helsinki’s seafront market. Dining areas, main and old bar/lounge space look, look really impressive, if you like classic decoration. There are also private dining rooms located on the second floor.

Have not dined in Salutorget for couple of years, so it was time to try it again.

For starters ordered Smoked beetroot, crutons, buckwheat and tofu sauce and Escargots á la Peltola´s Blue, country style baguette

Beetroot was fresh, and the tofu sauce a very nice addition to the dish.

Escargots were really tasty. Blue cheese added nice flavor on soft snails; garlic is used too oftern. Structure of snails was also perfect, not chewy at all.

 

Main courses were Globe artichoke and “falafel” with nuts and lentil and Grilled trout, smoked potato and hollandaise with white fish roe

Fresh, and home made tasty falafels.  Nicely presented and garnished with fresh cherry tomatoes, and greens.  The mashed potatoe sauce was nice and creamy, and the artichoke was a nice addition to this dish.

Trout was perfectly grilled, but could have eaten two pieces. Side dishes were well planned as they were delicious and paired extremely well with the fish.


 

Wine ordered this time was a real bargain. At the price of 45€ (restaurant price in Finland) you seldom find that tasty Shiraz. Most of the wines are reasonably priced, which is not the case in most restaurants in Helsinki.

Tempus Two was founded in 1997 by one of Australia’s most iconic and revered wine families, the McGuigans. Wine enjoyed was Tempus Two Shiraz 2014. Although it is still quite young, would agree on winemakers notes, “Big, Bold and Beautiful”!

 

Salutorget is the restarant to visit, if you want to try tasty Finnish food with international twist.

Food was excellent, also vegan. Restaurant has vegan main course on web -pages, but not on on printed menu. Also vegan dessert was available, but not listed on menu

Service was professional as you can expect in restaurant like Salutorget.

Overall grade is 4,5 because of reasonable wine prices and decoration, which is unique. Also the summer time terrace is worth to visit as it is opposite to Market Square and statue of Havis Amanda.

 

REVIEW: FOOD 4+/5 – SERVICE 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

http://www.salutorget.fi/en/front-page/





Restaurant review: Hoku

12 03 2017



HOKU was opened on the 3rd of December 2016, when new restaurant concept was launched in Kamppi shopping center 5th floor. Area is called Kortteli (Block), which includes 11 restaurants with different cuisines, HOKU being one of them.

Restaurant HOKU is a Hawaiian restaurant started by Ryan Shibuya. It is located by the windows opening to Narinkkatori offering great view if you get window table. So ask for it, but enough early. Some of the tables are on the other side behind glass walls after Beijing8 restaurant.

For starters ordered EDAMAME Lightly boiled and seasoned soybeans with a sesame-soy chili dressing and SOFT SHELL CRAB Deep fried and served on mixed salad with a creamy sriracha vinaigrette

Edamame, which is common in Hawaii,  was a very simple dish, and a bit lacking imagination.  As tasty as the sauce is, at the end they are just soy beans. Suitable for snack to be shared but maybe not for starter.

Crab was delicious and actuallu quite big for starter. Crispy shells with tasty salad made this crab starter maybe the best of all dishes eaten.

 



From several main courses ordered STEAMED SEABASS WITH BLACKBEANS Seabass steamed in cabbage leaf, salty black beans, shimeji mushrooms, ginger pesto and TOFU TERIYAKI Pan seared with teriyaki sauce.  Served with rice, green or potato salad, pickles.

Seabass was wrapped in cabbage leaves, 3 pieces, which make portion generous. Sauce or soup was quite salty but rice lightened it. Fish itself was perfectly cooked, soft and tasty.

The tofu was silken, and pair well with teriyaki sauce. In menu dish is with salmon but can be replaced with tofu.  In the plate there are 3 different flavors, sweet with the red cabbage, sour with the pickles  and chilli with cabbage.  The green salad is simple, usually served with a mayo dressing, but as it was served as vegan, the dressing was a vinagrette.



Wines are affordable when it comes to restaurant prices. If you get bottle of decent wine under 40€ in Finland, then you are on right track. Had South-African The Innocent Syrah 2015 from wineyard Lammershoek. The palate was soft and round upfront mouth feel. Quite light for Syrah but paired well with Hawaiian style food.

Restaurant has it’s own beer as you can see from the picture below. One of the Hawaiian islands, Kona, can be seen on the sign behind bar desk.

Restaurant Hoku will be success for sure. Excellent location in Kamppi shopping center by the windows with great view help it also.

But of course food is most important part and it was tasty. Especially not too strong Hawaiian flavors should melt Finnish mouths.

Service was professional being not too formal.

Saw many customers trying to step in without table reservation. On Saturday evening restaurant was fully booked.

 

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4/5

http://hoku.fi/index.html

http://kampinkortteli.fi/en

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Wine review: Rouge de Carsin Suomi Finland 100 2014

6 03 2017

Finland’s big year 2017

Finland became an independent state on 6 December 1917. The newly born state was willed into being by the Finns after a long struggle. In spite of hard times, the Finnish people have for almost a hundred years engaged in the building of their country and making decisions together. Now the Finns are leading their country into a new century with courage and determination.

The centenary of Finland’s independence in 2017 will be the most significant commemorative year for this generation of Finns. The centenary emphasises Finland’s strengths, such as equality and democracy by offering Finns and friends of Finland diverse and international centenary programme in Finland and abroad. The centenary year provides opportunities to better understand the past, experience the jubilee together and set the course for Finland’s future success.

The official Finland 100 corporate partners, products and services and the centenary projects of different companies. When it comes to wines, Chateau Carsin from Bordeaux, France is the one of the 2 partners.

In early 1990, Château Carsin was purchased by Finnish wine enthusiasts, the Berglund family. At the same time New World wines were becoming strong in the markets. In order to be competitive, a totally modern winery was ordered from Australia. With that investment winery is able to compete against other French producers.

Winery has used in production traditional Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

THE LOOK

Suomi Finland 100 logo is on the label as a proof of partnership.

For quite young wine, color is already dark red. When you circulate the glass, wine flows down, as it would do when you observe older wines.

THE NOSE

Bouquet is pleasant, actually quite intense compared to the taste. Spicy with some berries like blackberry.

THE TASTE

Taste reveals that you are having quite young wine in your hands. Medium-bodied with soft tannins.

 

Facts:

Alcohol: 13,5% by volume
Acidity: 5,1 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal/100 ml
Closure: natural cork

 

There is also white wine, Blanc de Carsin 2015, available. As a friend of red wines, might not have time to taste it.

Suomi Finland wines are of course marketed in Finland, but if you find them somewhere else, please let me know.

 

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++ / +++

http://carsin.com/suomi100/

 

 





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2017 – no changes

22 02 2017

Lamb at Demo - reijosfood.com

Michelin Guide announced new list of Michelin starred restaurants in Finland today, no surprises. Four restaurants kept 1 Michelin star, all in Helsinki. No new stars, unfortunately. It seems that other cities are not yet included in Michelin reviews although there are good candidates.

 

Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki, Finland are:

Ask, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – Restaurant Ask.

Chef & Sommelier, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – Restaurant Chef & Sommelier, Helsinki / Chef & Sommelier – Organic restaurant in Eira.

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – Restaurant Demo | ”Share a laugh in the middle of culinary excellence”

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki – OlO Restaurant treats you to a Gastronomic journey of Nordic influence

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Pictures are from restaurant Demo which has had Michelin star since 2007.

Bib Gourmand restaurants also remained the same as last year; Boulevard Social, Gaijin and Farang are owned by same chefs, incredible achievement year over year. Fourth restaurant is Emo.

I would add to this list at least restaurants Copas y Tapas and SPIS, latter could even earn 1 Michelin star. There are at least 5 additional restaurants which provide excellent food with decent prices and professional service. I shall bet Michelin consultants have not had time to visit all those.

Anyway, all listed restaurants earn to be named.





Restaurant review: Bar Con

19 02 2017


Bar Con was opened on the 3rd of December 2016, when new restaurant concept was launched in Kamppi shopping center 5th floor. Owners of Bar Con were also behind the new concept, Kortteli (Block), which includes 11 restaurants with different cuisines.

Bar Con is, however, located in its area above other restaurants and cafes. You climb the stairs to the “6th” floor where is the dining area and bar behind the desk.

Restaurant Bar Con is relaxed and casual spot serving similar food as you would get in Barcelona tapas bars. Menu includes pintxos, which are served on a crunchy slice of bread, tapas and main courses. Also few desserts are included.

Started the dinner with 2 pintxos and 2 tapas. Pintxo is snack, one piece costs 4€. Tapas portion can be shared. Ordered QUESO AZUL Y NUECES Asturian La Peral blue cheese with walnuts and SETAS AL AJILLO Seasonal mushrooms sauteed with parsley, garlic and pine nuts.

Amount of cheese was overwhelming but could not find walnuts. Would prefer blue cheese as slightly melted but this pintxo was delicious.

The garlic taste was a bit overwhelming, but overall it was a nice little snack.


Next came tapas portions, had ordered PIMIENTOS DEL PADRÓN Green Padrón peppers fried in olive oil and seasoned with coarse salt from Ibiza and PATATAS BRAVAS DE BARCELONA Crispy potatoes, spicy sauce made of smoked pepper and aioli.

One tapas plate is enough for two person for starter, if you order first pintxos.

Spiced potatoes were excellent, but missed a little bit taste of chili, which is used in some tapas bar in Barcelona.

Also salted green sweet peppers were as they should be.

For main courses decided to ordered MAR Y MONTAÑA Chickpeas, Spanish butifarra sausage and baby squid and POCHAS A LA NAVARRA White bean and vegetable stew from Navarra.

Mar was now shrimps instead of squid as restaurant was not able to get fresh octopus. Better this way than to serve frozen food, which can be quite stewy when it comes to squids. Butifarra sausage was as good as expected and stew very tasty as a whole.

The white bean stew was the only vegan choice.  This dish was a bit too salty, but must wonder if the combination of tapas on top of this main would have made a difference on the taste.  Overall a nice warm dish.

Wine list consist of Spanish wines, of course, and most of the wines are from small producers and imported by the company owning Bar Con. List also tells that wines are vegan, which means that animal-derived products has not been used during production.

Ordered Seis de Azul y Garanza, which has its origin in six vineyards placed next to the Desert of Bardenas Reales which produce small grapes. Waiter suggested this wine for all dishes we had ordered and pairing was perfect. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were perfect combination.

 

Restaurant Bar Con will be success, no doubt about it. Perfect location and you can even watch out from the narrow bar.

Food is tasty and ingredients used fresh and original, imported from Spain. Must say that so far most authentic when it comes to real Spanish food.

Service was professional and seemed natural. Information about food and wines were available with professional way.

 

REVIEW: FOOD 4/5 – SERVICE 4+/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

http://www.bar-con.fi/

http://kampinkortteli.fi/en





Restaurant review: Kaarna – bar and kitchen

12 02 2017

Restaurant Kaarna is a laid-back Finnish restaurant with a Scandinavian twist. The restaurant offers simple food and as speciality beers from microbreweries. Most of the dishes also have beer suggestions. To start with, restaurant recommends to try snapas, a sortiment of tapas made from Finnish ingredients. 

Kaarna is located in Forum shopping center in two floors. Street level, there is a small bar, and at the second level there are the dining area and lounge type of bar. There is even small inside terrace by the entrance in the shopping mall.

Ask for window table by Mannerheim street, if you want to follow by-passers and shoppers.

 

For starters had Green salad and Blini with pike roe.

It looked beautiful, but unfortunately the taste was not.  No dressing was added to the salad, or oil offered.  This salad is not listed on the menu, but there were not vegan options for starters.  Nice of them to improvised, but not a success this time.

As it is blini season, had to try it for starter. Only roe available was pike, usually salmon or white fish roes are served. Blinis were ok, but the amount of roe was ridiculous. Never have I seen that tiny pile of roe. And seldom, if ever, syrup is served with blini. Missing black pepper was the third thing, which went wrong.

For vegan food Pulled oats flatbread Pulled oats flavoured with tar and fennel, onion purée and flatbread from Lapland and Roasted country chicken Chanterelle sauce, fried vegetables and roasted potatoes.

Pulled Oat is oat and bean based protein food developed by Gold & Green, new Finnish vegan food producer.

Finnish flat bread is tasteless and dry as it is, so the toppings should be the opposite.  In this case, once again, it looked delicious, but there is just one word to describe this dish:  Bland.

Taste of chicken was nice, but is was quite dry. Portion included sauce, which tasted mushrooms. Maybe, if there had been some bites of chanterelles, it might have tasted, what it should have been.



Wine, which was so called Loyalty Customer wine, was best part of the dinner. Banrock Station Shiraz 2016 from Australia paired well with slightly spiced food. Quite sweet taste still because wine is really young.

Restaurant Kaarna has perfect location in one of the busiest shoppping centers and by the Mannerheim street. If you want window table, it is recommend to make table reservation in advance because restaurant is busy on weekend evenings.

Because of fully booked tables, had to wait 40 minutes for starters.

Unfortunaly food experience was not at the level we expected but location and window table increased overall grade.

REVIEW: Food 2/5 – Service 3+/5Overall grade 3+/5

https://www.raflaamo.fi/en/helsinki/kaarna-baari-keittio





Wine review: Farnito Camponibbio 2009

10 02 2017

*
In 1967, Giovanni Carlo Sacchet and Antonio Mario Zaccheo set out to interesting wine and produce a Chianti Classico that it would gain international renown. Carpineto wines are the result of advanced scientific and enological processes and techniques which respect the territorial integrity of the land. Over 95% of the Carpineto production is of red wines, the majorityof which are wines which age 3+ years before reaching the market for sale, with current figures at over 3 million bottles of wine being sold yearly.

“Camponibbio” is a Vineyard located in the southern part of our Vino Nobile estate, just outside the town of Chianciano Terme, Siena. This vineyard is subdivided into various plots, each with its own grape varietal, clone and rootstock that best match the varying soil types. During each harvest winery selects the fruit from the best performing vineyard plots, given the weather conditions of that vintage.  The grape composition of each vintage, therefore, is made of varying percentages of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and even Merlot, which is not mentioned on the back label of the bottle.

THE LOOK

Style of label is old and it has kind of map of wineyard.

Color of the wine is intense, deep, ruby red with garnet highlights. Vintage 2009 does not yet provide hints of brownish color.

THE NOSE

First light but later intense, found plums, berries and liquorice. After letting the wine breath, could also find light stable and cigar box.

THE TASTE

Bold, yet balanced and elegant.

Facts:

Alcohol: 13,5% by volume
Extract: 40 g/l
Acidity: 5,5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml
Closure: natural cork

It is recommended to decant the wine, then you can really enjoy the flavors and bouquet.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++ / +++

http://www.carpineto.com/the-winery/?lang=en

 

 





Restaurant review: Loiste at 10th floor

21 01 2017

Restaurant Loiste is located in the heart of Helsinki at the 10th Floor of Hotel Vaakuna and Sokos department store. There is a nice view from terraces and part of the restaurant windows. If you are seated on the right side of the restaurant, when you come in, you can not enjoy of the view, unfortunately. Therefore ask for window table and you can take a look at Kamppi and Forum shopping centres. Loiste is casual type of restaurant, but tries to put effort on the menu and food.


If you just want to enjoy aperitif or you are not hungry enough, you can visit the bar, which is located at the same premises, at 10th floor.

 

This time no starters as had decided to eat dessert too. However, as portions were not that big, could have eaten Blini, the season dish, for starter.

For main courses ordered Fish of the day and Chickpea steak, baked shiitake and kale, bell pepper tzatziki, which was the vegan dish.

Fish of the day was Arctic char, which is cold-water fish in the family of salmonidaes. Quite common in Finland. Side dishes were beetroot, potatoes and mushroom sauce. Simple, tasty but fish pieces could have been bigger.

For vegan porton, not your typical Chickpea steak.  A combination of chickpeas, shredded carrots, and zucchini put together in tasty steak shape. Served with a delicious red pepper tzatziki sauce and a side dish of seasoned wild mushrooms. Overall a delicious dish worth a second try.

For desserts ordered English cranberry-chocolate pudding  and Basil-Coconat sorbet.

Pudding was more like a cake, but delicious. Again few bites bigger and experience would have been perfect.

The vegan dessert was a creamy, structure like ice-cream.  Basil and coconat are not a common combination, but it totally works!



 

This time had for red wine Trapiche Astica Merlot-Malbec from Argentina. This basic wine had intense red color with ruby hues. Fruits and vanilla aromas, great complexity of the red and black fruits in the palate with sweet tannins. Malbec softened Merlot taste nicely.

 

Bigger portions for the price paid is a wish, when it comes to non vegan dishes.

Service was polite but we were wondering why we did not get window table although requested. Few tables were empty all the time by the window. Otherwise restaurant was quite busy.

 

REVIEW: FOOD 3,5/5 – VEGAN FOOD 4/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

https://www.raflaamo.fi/en/helsinki/restaurant-loiste

 





Restaurant review: Oficina – Latin Grill and Bar

8 01 2017

Oficina – Restaurante and Club Social – locates at Kaivopiha plaza in Helsinki, offering Latin food. Inside the restaurant, which is one floor down from street level, you’ll find the dining area, open kitchen and bar. Oficina is owned and operated by S-Group/Raflaamo, which has several restaurant chains in Helsinki area.

Oficina menu comes from Latin America, but not from some particular country. The Argentinean asado culture and their charcoal grills are used to prepare steaks, fish and vegetables. From Peru,  restaurant has selected the sharp pisco sour, salsa verde from Costa Rica and from Brazil, grilled chicken marinated in coconut. If salsa verde would be from Mexico, the taste of chilli jalopenos would have been stronger.

For starters (entradas) chose Ceviche Salmon ceviche, avocado mole salsa and corn chips and Nachos con salsa Oficina’s own corn chips and fresh salsas.

Ceviche was fresh and included many pieces of salmon. Typically dominant ingredients are vegetables and herbs but this time there was enough fish. However, lack of lemon or lime and acidity disturbed a little bit, but otherwise salmon paired well with chips.

Nachos included 3 salsas and part of them were spiced with red chilli powder. That gave extra taste to so common Latin American starter or snack. The guacamole and pico degallo added were nice, but as mentioned ealier green salsa could have been hotter, not lemony taste dominated.

For vegan main course ordered from Latin Grill list Tofu Asado Tofu on a skewer, pineapple salsa, beans and ginger daikon radish and Ribs de Cerdo Pork ribs glazed with chipotle chilli and served with fennel and apple.

Tofu was grilled to a firm crispy consistency. On the plate there was also edam and black beans seasoned with chilli/mango sauce, which really complemented the tofu

Ribs had delicous sauce but I think that fennel had been replaced with Pimientos de Padron. At least I could not find it, and apple was also difficult to find.

When you order main course from Latin Grill you need also to choose side dishes for them. Ordered Ensalada de quinoa Quinoa, red rice, lemon almonds and apple and Patatas fritas House made chips ja tomato aioli.

You might think that patatas fritas are like french fries, but english version tells already something else. First thought that they really were chips, but actually they were little bit thicker and softer. Excellent match with ribs, and would be also good option for starter.

Wine list is short but includes enough choises for Latin American food. Decided to enjoy bottle of Marques de Casa Concha 2013, made from Merlot grapes. Enough full-bodied and spicy to pair with herbs, salsas and slightly spiced food.

Restaurant has used material for decoration from different South American countries as well as Caribbean Island cultures. One example is Pinata hanging in the roof presenting Mexican plays.

Music comes also from the same direction as food and decoration. Welcomed genre, because you mostly hear same rythms from USA and UK in other restaurants and bars.

Food at Oficina is scrumptious and suits for many tastes. A little bit more spicies (read chilli) and herbs, then resataurant would be perfect small Latin America kitchen in Helsinki.

Service was polite and professional.

Overall grade is 4+ because this restaurant concept has been well designed. Everything around food complements it nicely.

Must come back some day later in the evening to check if Club Social continues with same music and athmosphere.

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

https://www.raflaamo.fi/en/helsinki/oficina





Wine review: Amarone della Valpolicella di Sartori 2011

24 12 2016
Amarone of the month, Amarone della Valpolicella di Sartori 2011. Can not avoid buying Amarone, when it is Christmas.

Wineyard’s history goes back to 1898 when Pietro Sartori bought his first vineyard in Negrar. Nowadays Sartori’s success is in large part due to its international efforts, which represent over 80% of its sales in over 50 countries: throughout Europe like Finland, in North and South America, in Russia, in South East Asia. The labels on which the company is now focusing on are Regolo Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso DOC and Marani Bianco Veronese IGT. This makes me wonder, if Amarone is worth to try.
Grapes used in production are 50% Corvina Veronese, 40% Rondinella and 10% Molinara.


THE LOOK

Most Amarone bottle labes are modest without too much colors like Sartori

Intense red colour

THE NOSE

First feeling was coffee chololate. When you rotate the glass, you find typical aroma with hints of red fruit jam and spicy finish

THE TASTE

Also first taste is kind of coffee chocolate, which I have not recognized from other Amarones tasted. If you have tasted this wine, did you find the same aroma and taste?
Wine does not taste as sweet as many others, but it has same full bodines, of course.

Facts:

Alcohol: 15% by volume
Sugar: 9 g/l
Acids: 5,5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml
Extract: 39 g/l
Closure: natural cork


img_2294

Amarone della Valpolicella di Sartori 2011 is nuanced, developed and pairs well will rustic meat dishes It paires also with cheeses, like Comte as well as Castello blue and white cheeses, which were as desserts on Christmas table.

Amarone is always wine you can trust, if you like to enjoy something else than red water.

 

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++ / +++

http://www.sartorinet.com/en/

 

 





Restaurant review: SPIS

10 12 2016

Restaurant SPIS is small 18-seat Nordic restaurant in Kasarminkatu, Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings. Because restaurant is tiny and very popular, during weekens you have to choose to dine at 0530/06.00PM or 0830PM. From Tuesday to Thursday dining starts between 0600-0800PM without time limit. And then and at “night shift” you can order Long Tasting Menu with six courses. However, with snacks and greetings from kitchen, you get over 10 plates front of you.

Enjoyed Short Tasting Menu with 4 courses. Price varies from 50-57€ depending on ingredients. Vegan menu is also available, which is not yet so typical for fine dining bistros. But this is quite natural for SPIS, as main ingredients used are vegetables.

 

First surprise were crackers, which started the dinner. Had already ordered glass of champagne, bubbly and fresh.

Second snack were vegetable greetings from the kitchen, yellow root and spiced cucumber, so simple but always delicious.

And third snack was even more interesting and scrumptious, “spaghetti” with cloudberries. Creative way to combine ingredients, which you may not use together in your own kitchen.



After 3 apetizers kitchen brought first dish, starter, which name I do not unfortunately remember any more. First picture below tells more. As menu do not describe what it includes, post should be written quite soon after dining. Now it has gone three weeks.

Second dish was pike perch with two ways with onions. Pleasantly soft and tasty fish and sweet onions paired well with each other.

And third dish, second main course, was braised pork with fennel. Excellent mixture of salty meat and slightly sweet vegetable!



Before desserts we were served cup of cloudberry soup. This led perfectly to sweeter world of SPIS dishes.

First dessert was greetings from the kitchen, kind of apple crumble.

And fourth dish and actual dessert was cake, which melted in the mouth.

You can combine food with recommened wines with price of 36€, which we did. Because SPIS uses lot’s of vegetables and way of using spices is Nordic, also the wines are light.

With starter we were served sauvignon blanc, which unfortunately not, is my favourite wine.

For vegan version next two wines would have been orange wine, totally new experience, but after first glass changed it to stronger red wine from Italy, which was served with pork. Orange wine is produced from different white wine grapes, which have spent some maceration time in contact with the grape skins, giving the wine an orange color.

Must say that as a friend of full bodied red wines, would next time order a bottle of ripasso or something similar.

 

After asking for check, restaurant always serves final culinary pieces, some sweets on huge Lego brick

SPIS is one of the best Nordic food restaurants in Helsinki. Food served is well prepared, creative and tasty. And I really appreciate that restaurants goes through the trouble of preparing all snacks between the dishes.

Service has always been one of the strengths of restaurant. Chef”s bring some of the dishes to tables, which makes the dining more intimate. However, this time it was sort of difficult to hear what waitresses explained to us.

Some changes in wines and overall grade would have been 5-.

REVIEW: FOOD 5-/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

 

http://spis.fi/








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